The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Summer Movie Posse on 'Transformers': Five thumbs down

May 7, 2009 |  5:22 pm


In case you haven't been following along, it's Summer Movie Posse week at the Big Picture blog, when we get the straight dope on the summer movies from a bunch of highly opinionated teenagers who watch the summer movie trailers with me -- and then spout off about their likes and dislikes. (If you want to learn more about this year's Posse, start here.) 

The biggest surprise about this year's Posse is how much they've enjoyed the summer action films. Usually, the most popular trailers are comedies. But many of this summer's most popular trailers have been action films, notably "Terminator: Salvation" and "Star Trek." 

But one action film got the bum's rush: Michael Bay's "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." It bombed with the kids, who gave it one of the lowest scores of all 14 movie trailers they watched -- a 29 out of a possible 60. Even these teens, who grew up in a visually oriented world, were starved for a little more information from the trailer, which was crammed with explosions, but offered only two short lines of dialogue, one of them being the immortal "We're all going together!"

Even worse, the kids viewed the film as being something only of interest to their little brothers, which as any studio marketer will tell you, is the worst insult of all, since once the little brother hears that a movie plays too young for his big brother or sister, he won't want to see it either. 

Some excerpts from their critique:

Ben Sassoon, 17: "I can't say this got my hopes up. It's just a lot of explosions."

Molly Philbin, 15: "And they only said five words in the whole trailer. I'm sure all those special effects were hard to do, but if you haven't seen the first movie, I'm not sure you'd even understand what was going on. And most of what was going on sure didn't look that good."

Jasmine Jafari, 15: "I wasn't sure I even knew what the movie was about until halfway through the trailer, and I probably know more than most people, since I have a little brother who's into Transformers. I think he'd be a lot more interested in the movie than me. It just felt pretty senseless."

Ben: "This reminds me of why I'm not a big fan of Michael Bay. He keeps making the same movie, over and over again, as if he hopes someday he'll get it right."

Coming next: What do a bunch of high schoolers think about a movie that's actually set in high school? Hint: They expected a lot more believability than they got.

The "Transformers" trailer:


Summer Movie Posse on 'Terminator': 'A robot's anguish guarantees my attendance'

Ho! Ho! Ho! Is Michael Bay the Santa Claus of summer movies?

Summer Movie Posse on 'Star Trek': Bring it on!

Photo: Bumblee in "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." Credit: Paramount.